How To Paint Bathroom Cabinets For A Stunning Makeover

Bob Thomas


As a qualified painter and decorator, I know that giving your bathroom cabinets a fresh coat of paint can make a world of difference in the overall look of your bathroom.

Not only is it an affordable way to update your space, but it also allows you to customize your cabinets to your taste.

In this comprehensive guide, I'll walk you through the steps to paint your bathroom cabinets like a pro, ensuring a stunning and durable result.

Let's get started!

Quick Summary

Transform your bathroom cabinets with these steps: 1) Choose the right paint, 2) Remove hardware and clean the cabinets, 3) Sand the surfaces, 4) Apply primer, 5) Paint the cabinets, and 6) Reinstall hardware and enjoy your updated cabinets. Follow our expert tips to achieve a professional, long-lasting finish.

Choose the Right Paint

When it comes to painting bathroom cabinets, the type of paint you choose is crucial for a long-lasting finish.

Opt for a high-quality paint specifically designed for cabinets or high-moisture areas, such as semi-gloss or satin finish paint.

These finishes are more resistant to moisture, humidity, and frequent cleaning, which is essential in a bathroom environment.

Pro Tip: To ensure the best adhesion and durability, choose a paint with built-in primer or a paint-and-primer-in-one product.

Remove Hardware and Clean the Cabinets

Before you begin painting, remove all hardware, such as handles, knobs, and hinges, from your cabinets.

This will make it easier to paint and prevent any paint from getting on the hardware.

Next, thoroughly clean your cabinets with a mild detergent and warm water to remove any dirt, grease, and grime.

Make sure the cabinets are completely dry before proceeding to the next step.

Sand the Surfaces

To ensure proper paint adhesion, sand the surfaces of your cabinets lightly with fine-grit sandpaper (180 to 220-grit).

This will remove any glossy finish and create a slightly rough surface for the paint to adhere to.

Be sure to sand all edges, corners, and areas where the cabinets will be painted.

After sanding, wipe down the surfaces with a damp cloth to remove any dust or debris.

Apply Primer

Primer is essential for a professional, long-lasting finish.

It helps the paint adhere better to the surface and prevents any stains or discoloration from bleeding through. 

Use a high-quality primer designed for use on cabinets, such as a shellac-based or oil-based primer.

Apply the primer using a brush or foam roller, following the manufacturer's instructions for application and drying times.

Paint the Cabinets

Now that your cabinets are prepped, it's time to paint.

Stir the paint thoroughly and pour a small amount into a paint tray.

Use a high-quality, synthetic bristle brush or a foam roller to apply the paint in thin, even coats.

Start with the backside of the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, then move on to the cabinet frames.

Apply at least two coats of paint, allowing ample drying time between coats as recommended by the paint manufacturer.

Pro Tip: Lightly sand between coats of paint with fine-grit sandpaper to create an even smoother finish.

Reinstall Hardware and Enjoy Your Updated Cabinets

Once the paint is completely dry, reinstall the hardware on your cabinets.

If desired, you can also replace the old hardware with new, updated pieces to further enhance the look of your cabinets.

Finally, step back and admire your beautifully updated bathroom cabinets!

Frequently Asked Questions Section (FAQs)

Q. Can I paint my bathroom cabinets without sanding them?

  A: Yes, you can paint your cabinets without sanding by using a liquid deglosser.

This product removes the glossy finish and prepares the surface for primer and paint.

However, sanding may still be necessary for rough surfaces or to remove deep scratches.

Q. What type of paint is best for bathroom cabinets?

  A: A semi-gloss or satin finish paint is ideal for bathroom cabinets because it's easy to clean, moisture-resistant, and more durable than flat or matte finishes.

Choose a high-quality paint, preferably one with built-in primer, for best results.

Q. Can I use a paint sprayer to paint my bathroom cabinets?

  A: Yes, you can use a paint sprayer to achieve a smoother, more even finish.

However, using a paint sprayer can be more complicated and requires additional preparation, such as masking off areas to avoid overspray and thoroughly cleaning the sprayer after use.

Q. How many coats of paint should I apply to my bathroom cabinets?

  A: Typically, you'll need two coats of paint for full coverage.

However, this can vary depending on the color and type of paint used.

Always allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next one.

Q. What should I do if the paint starts peeling or chipping after painting my bathroom cabinets?

  A: If paint peels or chips, it usually indicates improper surface preparation or paint application.

To fix this issue, you'll need to remove the peeling paint, sand the surface, and reapply primer and paint, ensuring proper drying times between coats.

Q. Can I paint over stained bathroom cabinets?

  A: Yes, you can paint over stained cabinets, but you'll need to thoroughly clean, sand, and prime the surface first. This will ensure proper paint adhesion and a durable finish.

Q. How long should I wait before using my bathroom cabinets after painting them?

  A: It's best to wait at least 24 hours before using your cabinets to ensure the paint is fully dry.

However, curing times may vary depending on the paint type, so consult the manufacturer's instructions for specific recommendations.


Painting bathroom cabinets can be a rewarding DIY project that instantly refreshes your bathroom's appearance.

By following this step-by-step guide and using high-quality materials, you can achieve a stunning and durable result that will last for years to come.

In addition to enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your bathroom, updating your cabinets can also increase the overall value of your home.

So, roll up your sleeves and give your bathroom cabinets the makeover they deserve!

Suggested Products:

  1. KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Interior Latex Primer: This top-notch primer is specifically designed for hard-to-paint surfaces, ensuring a strong bond between the paint and bathroom cabinets. It helps create a long-lasting, durable finish.
  2. Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch 2X Ultra Cover Semi-Gloss Paint: A high-quality, semi-gloss paint that provides excellent coverage and durability. This paint is suitable for bathroom cabinets, resisting moisture and stains while maintaining a clean and polished appearance.
  3. Krud Kutter Gloss-Off Prepaint Surface Preparation: This liquid deglosser effectively cleans and prepares glossy surfaces for painting without the need for sanding. It simplifies the process of painting bathroom cabinets and ensures proper paint adhesion.
  4. 3M Pro Grade Precision Sanding Sponge: This versatile sanding sponge provides a flexible and easy-to-use option for sanding bathroom cabinets. It helps to create a smooth, even surface for paint application, reducing the risk of imperfections in the finished product.
  5. Wooster Brush Silver Tip Angle Sash Paintbrush: A high-quality, synthetic bristle paintbrush designed for precise cutting in and edging. This paintbrush provides better control and a smoother finish when painting bathroom cabinets.
  6. ScotchBlue Original Multi-Surface Painter's Tape: This painter's tape helps protect surfaces from paint drips and overspray, ensuring clean and crisp edges when painting bathroom cabinets. It removes cleanly without damaging the surface or leaving a residue.

About the author 

Bob Thomas

A fully certified interior decorator and house painter , Bob Thomas brings immense expertise and knowledge amassed from many years of hands-on experience with residential, commercial and specialty painting and decorating projects of all sizes and scopes.

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